Yeah, you read that right. We had a Birthday Party Double header over the weekend. Just in case you don’t get it, I want to be clear. We didn’t have two birthday parties in one. We had two birthday parties in one day. One right after the other. Yep.
My kids, as you know, have birthdays very close to each other. We had the 8 year old’s a few weeks ago. A simple pizza movie night. For the other two we had to wait for the grass to grow. And yeah, you heard that right too. We were waiting for the grass to grow.
We have a very difficult time getting grass to grow in our backyard. It has a lot to do with drainage, or something. I don’t know. But I’ve been pushing for sod for the last 3 years and he, the husband, keeps just trying to grow grass. It’s crazymaking. In his defense we have to completely redo the side and backyard and buying sod for one year makes very little sense. But, now it’s been three years….so…
All my 4 year old wanted to do was have Lightening McQueen races around the backyard. That’s IT. That’s all he wanted.
So we waited.
His birthday passed and it began to get close to the 6 year old’s birthday. So now we need to have two parties that need to happen, and fast. I feel like we need to have them before the end of school crazy starts. So now we’re a week away from Memorial Day weekend. The grass is looking not half bad, so I say “Let’s just have them both on the same day. An hour in between!” Shockingly, husband thinks this is a great idea. “YES! Let’s just get it done!”
That day, I send invitations because it’s a week away. If I’m being honest I will tell you that I kinda hoped having it on the holiday weekend would reduce the numbers. I also hoped the late notice would mean people already had plans But you know what happens when you’re awful like that. EVERYBODY can come. Yep that’s right.
So we had a Cars Party and a Fancy Purple & Pink party (that’s a thing right?). I hurriedly jumped on Amazon Prime and bought all the goodies like this super cute pinwheel craft and paper straws, umbrellas, and flower mason jar lids for the girls’ drinks. I borrowed a tent, because of course it was supposed to rain (again that’s what happens when you’re awful). Then we rented some low kid tables and called it a day.
And what a day it was. It wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but it sure was fun! The kids were all so great. Everyone was well behaved and had fun. AND it didn’t actually rain on the parties. It rained just before the first one and then not again. I really couldn’t have asked for more.
This post, oh this post. I love it so. And it seems quite a few others have loved it as well. All of them mamas, who seem to be left out of the picture.
For me, much of it has to do with – I always have the camera, video or still. It’s always me taking the pictures because I love to! It’s kinda my thing. Also my husband takes a terrible photo, always leaving too much headroom. Sorry honey, but you know it’s true.
When we were in VT this summer we went to our favorite restaurant, American Flatbread, as we always do. They have a lovely field behind the restaurant where the kids play while we wait for our table and then again after we’ve eaten. We always take a moment to get a picture of all the kids together and we take the Christmas photos for our friends.
Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with the need to have a picture of me with each of my kids. I knew I’d never get all three of them together so I would divide and conquer. I ran over to my husband and shoved the camera at him and said “I want pics of me with the kids. Stay here.” He stayed. He’s very good at following directions :-)
One by one I grabbed them and hugged them as their Dad took photos. And then they ran away to be with their friends. But I was left with these…
I don’t know what came over me, but I had to have those pics. As Allison wrote in her post,
I’m everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won’t be here — and I don’t know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now — but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.
Go forth and take photos my friends and get IN the picture.
And it is how I feel most of the time. Times 4 (that includes husband) I always feel like there is someone watching me or there is someone that needs watching. Someone always needs something. From me.
I started this new rebranded blog with high hopes and huge intentions. I have fallen short. I am needed elsewhere. ALL THE TIME.
I am only getting to do this right now because the baby is sleeping and I gave the other two the iPad. Which mercifully they are sharing without needing any intervention from me. I should be at the grocery store, changing the sheets, cleaning out the fridge, and folding the laundry.
So here I am. Writing. Finally. Not just a Wordless Wednesday (not there’s anything wrong with that ;-), but actually writing something.
This weekend I am taking some time for myself. There will be no children or a husband looking for something from me. I am going to BlogHer. I bought a ticket at the last minute with some encouragement and generosity from some of my bloggy friends.
I need this. I need to get away and refresh myself and find my worth. Did I really just write that? I did. And I mean it. I’m a good mom, not the best mom, but their mom. I love them fiercely and would not want a full time career.
We make ends meet with some left over. We’re doing fine. We make sacrifces for me to stay home. Which is why sometimes I feel so terrible that I don’t love it as much as I think should. There I said that too. Sometimes I feel a little under appreciated, or that people can’t see what I’m worth, how much I do, and how important it all is. And by people I mean my people of course, but also “people” as in society.
Three kids under 6 is a lot. They are 2,4 & 6. I’m tired. I don’t like to craft. I yell. But God, do I love them. So because I love them, I’m taking a little time for me. I need some time to see how I can help myslef make this blog more of a business. Time for some networking for when I finally do go back into the workforce. I need to keep my skills sharp and my mind open. Those things sometimes don’t happen for me at home. I don’t shower for days and I never make time to exercise.
I need more to know I am worth something. There are all kinds of moms with all kinds of needs. Some NEED to work outside the home because their family would starve otherwise. Some need to work outside the home because their souls would starve otherwise. I am someone who just needs a little something something to keep me going, keep me sane. I have found that blogging (and video) helps me have that. I can do it on my own time, in my own way, and feel better about myself.
So this is what I’m worth. I am worth a weekend away. I am worth going to seminars and meeting people and having fun. It will help me be a better blogger AND a better mom. I am so glad I have a husband who also thinks I’m worth it.
So if you see me at BlogHer give me a little squeeze because I’m going to be missing my kids like crazy. But also maybe a high five, because I showered and got myself out of the house. That’s half the battle people.
In a previous life I made development videos for nonprofits. Now I do this sort of silly thing.
The following video is so important to me for so many reasons. It changed my life. I hope it changed some of the lives of the people in it.
My colleagues and I went to Durban, South Africa to see the good work that was being done for AIDS patients and their families, specifically the children. The AIDS orphans. We saw so much that week. It was exhausting physically and emotionally just to be there for a week. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to live it.
On one of our last days we learned that the little girl we interviewed the day before had been raped during the night. It was too much for me to think that we, I, may have had something to do with it. The attention we paid her, traipsing through a neighborhood without any material possession with our seemingly fancy shoes and camera equipment. It was too much for me.
I stayed behind in the van and cried. Our handler assured me it wasn’t anything we had done and there was nothing we could have done to prevent it. It just was. With that, I was done. I just couldn’t go into another house and hear the stories.
Recently I was told that she died not too long ago from AIDS. Again, the tears flowed for a little girl. Thinking how somehow, we failed her.
Part of the reason for creating some development videos and documentaries is to bear witness. So that those going through struggle and adversity and, well, sheer hell, are not forgotten.
I saw you baby girl. You mattered to your family. You mattered to me. I saw you.
My friends and I travelled halfway around the world to tell this story. It’s a story that is still worth telling today. Especially on this day – World AIDS Day.
Love to my friends Susie Weekes, Meredith Crowley, and the beautiful children and their advocates in South Africa.